Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tattered Remnants #042: Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov (1927-1967)


In downtown Moscow, there stands a great building that remains, to this day, a monument to the fear generated by Stalinist tyranny.

The Metropol hotel is a great heap of socialist realism dating back to the mid 1930s. It is highly asymmetrical: the left side of the building is plain, the right, quite ornate.

The story goes that when the hotel was built, two plans were presented to Stalin for review, side-by-side, with a line down the center indicating that he needed to choose between the two styles.

It's said that Stalin, who often didn't pay close attention to paperwork submitted to him, just scribbled his name and the word "Approved" across the middle of the page. And rather than tell their "Vozhd" ("The Boss") that he had screwed up, the terrified sycophants who surrounded him went ahead and ordered the hotel be built as approved, asymmetrically.

Think of the implications of that for a moment.

This was but one instance of rule by "The Boss", a tyrant surrounded by (real) yes-men who could not ever contradict him for fear of their lives. It is said he was so feared that his personal chamberlain kept spare pairs of pants ready to hand, so that those who went to see Stalin personally would have something to change into if they lost control of their functions out of fear of being in his presence.

Rule by "The Boss" remained the curse of Russian life; Stalin's successors ruled much as he did up to 1992 when the Soviet system was (we hope!) overthrown.

This is a story of a man who received an order from The Boss (and his lackeys), and, knowing full well that he was choosing slow death by fire, chose to take the mission rather than kill a national hero who also happened to be his best friend.

His name was Vladimir Komarov, and, in 1967, he was given a hideous choice: to go into space in a rattletrap spacecraft that was certainly not going to survive reentry... or refuse to board and let his secondary relief take the trip.

Problem was, the secondary relief was Yuri Gagarin, his best friend and a national hero.

It's been almost fifty years since 'Gaga' went into orbit--and half a planet away. But Gagarin was the Hero of the Soviet Union of the time (and he'd earned it, too); he was the Russian Niel Armstrong, first man into space.

Had Gagarin died in orbit after Komarov refused the mission, Komarov would very likely have not lived very long. Furthermore, Komarov and Gagarin were personal friends; Komarov could not sentence his best friend to die so horribly.

But the Vozhd ("The Boss"), in this case Leonid Breszhnev, ymech shemo, wanted a space triumph. The Americans had just lost three astronauts on the ground in the Apollo 1 fire. He wanted to demonstrate the USSR's technical superiority over the Americans, who were clearly pushing ahead in the race to the Moon. So the order came down: there must be a launch.

Even if the Soyuz was as much a piece of deadly junk as Apollo 1.

The craft simply wasn't ready for prime time--and both Komarov and Gagarin knew it. There remained hundreds of flaws, any of which could cause a failure and death for the pilot.

But The Boss wanted a triumph--and the impenetrable wall of lickspittles who surrounded him would not let the truth get through.

So Komarov went into space in the Soyuz 1 spacecraft--confronting Gagarin at the launch pad to prevent Gagarin from taking Komarov's place.

The mission of Soyuz 1 on launch was to meet up with the Soyuz 2 craft, launched the day following, in an orbital rendezvous, and then return to earth.

Everything went wrong.

And what's worse, everything that went wrong he knew was going to go wrong.

First, Soyuz 2's launch was cancelled, so the entire point of the mission was scrubbed even before reentry began.

And then it got worse.

Let Wikipedia tell the story:

On orbital insertion, the solar panels of the Soyuz module failed to fully deploy, thereby preventing the craft from being fully powered and obscuring some of the navigation equipment. Komarov reported: 'Conditions are poor. The cabin parameters are normal, but the left solar panel didn't deploy. The electrical bus is at only 13 to 14 amps. The HF communications are not working. I cannot orient the spacecraft to the sun. I tried orienting the spacecraft manually using the DO-1 orientation engines, but the pressure remaining on the DO-1 has gone down to 180.' Komarov tried unsuccessfully to orient the Soyuz module for 5 hours. The craft was transmitting unreliable status information and communications were lost on orbits 13-15 due to the failure of the HF transmitter which would have maintained radio contact whilst the craft was out of range of UHF receivers on the ground.

As a result of the problems with the craft, the second Soyuz module which was to have provided crew to perform an Extra-vehicular activity to Soyuz 1 was not launched and the mission was cut short.

Komarov was ordered to re-orient the craft using the ion system on orbits 15-17. The ion system failed. Komarov did not have enough time to attempt a manual re-entry until orbit 19. Manual orientation relied on using the equipped Vzor device, but in order to do this, Komarov needed to be able to see the sun. To reach the designated landing site at Orsk the retro-fire would need to take place on the night side of the earth. Komarov oriented the spacecraft manually on the dayside then used the gyro-platform as a reference so that he could orient the craft for a night side retro-fire. He successfully re-entered the earth's atmosphere on orbit 19. He was killed after the module crashed when the drogue and main braking parachute failed to deploy correctly.

The last line was not true; he died, horribly, and slowly, of burns long before Soyuz completed reentry.

A story on National Public Radio's web site (discretion advised before viewing!) includes both a recording of Komarov's hideous last imprecations against those who sent him in space to die, and an even more hideous picture of his burned corpse in an open coffin.

I hope that Leonid Breszhnev saw it.

Gagarin, it is said, wanted to confront Breszhnev about it; legend has it he threw a drink in Breszhnev's face at a reception after the disaster. We do know this: Yuri Gagarin died in 1968, only months after the Soyuz 1 disaster, in what was said to be a plane crash. God rest him.

And God rest Vladimir Komarov and may light eternal shine upon him, for "greater love hath no man than one who lays his life down for a friend." He reflected what is greatest and best of the people of Russia.

And, unlike some NASAs I could name, the space program he died to build is still going strong.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speaking of Knowing When to STFU....

One should take this into account. Don't try deadpan snarking when your husband is pointing a gun at you.

With her final words before she was fatally shot, Elaine McCall needled her husband for missing with his first shot yesterday morning inside their Wakefield home, police said.

“ ‘You can’t even shoot,’ ” she said, according to her husband David McCall’s reported statements to police.

The 72-year-old husband was charged with murder after hitting his wife with the second shot from the top of the stairs, police said.

Two Russian Yes-Men Hold A Conversation

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Beggar and the Pope

The following is a true story; the pope in question is John Paul II and this is said to have happened in the 1990s.

A priest from the Archdiocese of New York was visiting Rome. As he was walking into a church to pray, he noticed a beggar sitting at the front door — not an unusual sight in Rome. But something about this particular beggar bothered him. He didn’t figure it out until he began to pray: he suddenly realized that he knew the man from his days in the seminary.

He immediately went back outside and said to him, "Excuse me, do I know you?" Sure enough, the beggar had been in the seminary with him many years earlier. He had been ordained a priest, but had [in his words] "crashed and burned" in his vocation.

The priest from New York was understandably shaken up when he left the beggar a few minutes later.

That afternoon he was at the Vatican, and had the opportunity to meet the pope and speak with him. He said to him, "Please, Holy Father, pray for this particular man. I went to seminary with him, and he’s now a beggar on the streets of Rome. Please pray for him, because he’s lost."

The Holy Father instructed the priest to go back to the beggar.

He found him—once again—in front of the church, and he said to him, "I have an invitation for the two of us to have dinner with the pope tonight." The beggar said, "No, I can’t." The priest responded, "You’d better, because I’m not going to have dinner with the pope any other way."

So the priest took the beggar to his room, where he provided him with a razor, a much-needed shower, and some clean clothes.

Then they went to dinner. About an hour into the meal, the Holy Father asked the priest from New York to leave the room. He then said to the beggar, "Would you hear my Confession?"

The beggar said, "I’m not a priest anymore." The pope replied, "Once a priest, always a priest."

The beggar said, "But I’m not in good standing with the Church." The pope shot back, "I’m the pope. I’m the bishop of Rome. I can re-instate you now."

The beggar agreed, and Pope John Paul II proceeded to confess his sins.

The beggar-priest barely got the words of absolution out of his mouth before he dropped to his knees and tearfully asked, "Holy Father, will you please hear my Confession?" He confessed, and was restored to good graces with our Lord and the Church.

The Holy Father then invited the New York priest back into the room, and he asked him at what church he had found the beggar. The priest told him. The pope then said to the beggar-priest, "For your first assignment, I want you to go to the pastor there and report for duty, because you’ll be an associate at that parish with a special outreach to the beggars in that area."

And that’s where he is today, serving God and the poor as a priest.

Source: The beggar-priest in question is identified in the source, but as I can't confirm, I won't name him.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kill Qdaffy? Bad idea. Very, very bad idea.

Now that the President of these United States has been dragged willy-nilly (mostly nilly) into the conflict in north Africa, I am hearing calls for us to assassinate Qdaffy. Here, and here.

Bad idea. Really, really, really bad idea.

One does not assassinate foreign heads of state. It is against international law and would constitute a war crime.

Capture him ALIVE, turn him over to his own people, try and hang. That's how you do it. That way is not assassination but the administration of justice.

The past century started off with a bang, as it were, when the Serbs mindlessly murdered Alexander Obrenovic, their king, and their queen, Draga. The very same guy who organized that (Dragutin Dimitrijević, AKA "Apis") organized the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. And then there's the Tsar's family in 1918....none of those instances, er, ended well.

We assassinated Ngo Dinh Diem and Ngo Dinh Nhu of Vietnam (through proxies) in early November 1963. I hope I don't have to mention what occurred three weeks later.

Assassination may be an instrument of state in combat, but not against heads of state or government. That invites, er, karmic retaliation.

"Do not be so quick to deal in death and judgment, Frodo. Even the wisest cannot see all ends." - LOTR

Sunday, March 27, 2011


In trying to explain himself when bombing foreign lands,
It behooves a modern president to keep his prose in hand.
One little slip in lexicon accounting for the rubble
Will end up in congressional investigative trouble.


I must admit the messaging is really quite atrocious
But if you say it soft enough, you’ll always sound precocious, Overseascontingencieskineticaliocious!

That is all the copyright laws of the United States will let me get away with posting. The rest can be found here.

From, of course, the immortal Iowahawk....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Sinner's Guide To .....
A Sinner's Guide To The Saints

I'd like to hat tip a lovely blog that was recommended to me by my dear friend The Legendary Other Stef called: A Sinner's Guide To The Saints This blog is written by a self-described "lapsed Catholic" named Marilyn and after extensive review I must give it Two Big Thumbs Up.

She offers a good counterpoint to our companion blog, particularly as I have gone well out of my way not to include Catholic saints on my list (for the simple reason I don't feel qualified to discuss sanctity insofar as I have so little of my own).

Anyway. Much recommended.

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, Seventh Age 2011

Today we note the date, March 25, 1419 Shire Reckoning, when Frodo cast the Ring into the Fire. Or when he gave Gollum the finger (whatever).

An impressive feat, but they surely did it the hard way...


An ILLEGAL ALIEN was discovered squirreled away in Washington State!

He's been out of status for ALMOST ONE HUNDRED YEARS!

Ninety-five-year-old Leeland Davidson discovered recently that he's not a U.S. citizen, despite living nearly 100 years in the country and serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII.....

Davidson was born in British Columbia in 1916. He checked up on his citizenship before joining the Navy and was told by an inspector at the U.S. Department of Labor Immigration and Naturalization Service he had nothing to worry about. Now he worries that he won't be able to prove his citizenship, because his parents were born in Iowa before local governments started keeping records of birth certificates in 1880.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Top Ten Rejected Names for Our War In Libya

10. Operation Nine Months In The Senate Didn’t Prepare Me For This
9. Operation Organizing for Libya
8. Operation Double Standard
7. Operation FINE! I’ll Do Something
6. Operation Enduring Narcissism
5. Operation So That’s What the Red Button Does
4. Operation France Backed Me Into A Corner
3. Operation Start Without Me
2. Operation Unlike Bush Wars This One Is Justified Because Hey Look A Squirrel
1. Operation Aimless Fury

(I didn't write these but I wish I had)


And some more....

Operation Ignore the Saudis and Their Friends!
Operation Damn Those Neocons Had it Pegged All Along
Operation It's 3 Am and the Phone Has No Snooze Button
Operation Never Mind What I Said Earlier
Operation Where Are Those Weapons of Mass Destruction in Libya?
Operation Gee The Libyan Intel Guys Liked A Lot Of Boom Boxes
Operation Time to Shut Down Ohio's Legislature as a Distraction
Operation Time to Reinstitute the Draft
Operation Let's Fight for 2% of the World's Oil.
Operation $2 a Gallon Gas
Operation Syria's Next
Operation U.S. Army Freeing the Shit out of You since 1775

(With thans to my various FB friends)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Geeks in Love

A hilarious flash video.... recommended by my wonderfully geeky niece Jennifer, whom I hope will forgive me for naming her in this post.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We've Got Mail!

General Universal Reply to Paper Statements!

- - - - - - - - -


It was never the intention of our Founding Fathers that a penny saved would be a penny earned. Ordinarily, a house is not a home. The liberals among the far right will insist on coming to terms with the horns of their dilemma. This begs the question.

Things aren’t what they seem, to a blind horse. Want to dance to the music? Freedom was never free. After all, you get what you pay for, being a dog eat dog world. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to buy.

This bill must not pass this way again. That’s throwing the baby out with the bath water! If only we weren’t left flapping in the breeze, then two could live as cheaply as one (but for only half the time). Walking on eggshells is the worst-case scenario. Read my lips- no new saxes. It’s nothing but gratuitous and unnecessary violins, anyhow. Old shoulders never die; they just fade out.

A pox on both your houses! You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind breaks. Who the heck let the dogs out? As GM goes, so goes the country. Lesson learned, the hard way, if you get my drift. So, if you’ve got it, haunt it. An ounce of prevention beats a sharp stick in the eye. Whose ox is being gored here anyway? A day without sunshine is like a day without a clue.

Have you no shame? The rhetoric of the left is increasingly dogged by the actual estimates. But you’re just making it easy for the clean-up hitter. It’s the all-time trifecta of Wall Street speculation fueled by the whining of the lobbyists and small rodents alike. Small world, isn’t it? Familiarity breeds. Confused? Yes, and no. Don’t ever put off procrastinating again! Good catch, 22.

How much is not enough? The sky is not falling, naysayers to the contrary. Fish or cut bait! Fits like a fine-tooth glove, when used with a conscientiously applied program of moral hygiene and regular mental care.

- a Gruntled reader.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Dust Thou Art"

I am aware that Ash Wednesday is a bit past us, but I found the following Email in my archives--sent back in February 2008 to some of my friends.

It tells an interesting tale.

These days I worship at St. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Catholic Church in Sterling Heights, Michigan--a relatively new replacement church for an ancient fortresslike predecessor church in the old Slovak center in Detroit (pics of the old St. Cyril's can be found here). The new St. Cyril was built in relatively upscale Sterling Heights in the '80s because that's the center of the Slovak community these days.

Anyway, they have no less than five priests assigned there, for about 1500 families.

VERY active, take-no-nonsense traditional Catholic church, featuring a sculpture of Christ flogged that makes 'The Passion of the Christ' look like a G-movie. Their big 9:30 Mass has no less than a hundred--no exaggeration--altar boys, concelebrated by three priests.

Anyway. Father Ben--a youngish priest from Slovakia with a heavy accent known for his charitably unbending moral preaching, had the following to say at the close of Mass yesterday:

"You all know of [name deleted], the past president of the Men's club and the ushers. He was here on Wednesday to assist at the 7:00 PM Ash Wednesday services. He stood at the back of the Church and was the last one to receive ashes.

"You should all know that after receiving his ashes, he sat down in the first pew, suffered a heart attack and died before the Host.

"Some call that a tragedy, but I call it a miracle. I cannot imagine a better way to go to God. Please remember him in your prayers."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

....for one bad idea.

Recently I had a friend-of-a-friend actually defend Marxism as a way of life and looking at the world.

This little film is dedicated to him.

There Are Times You Should STFU

In 1825, Tsar Aleksandr I of Russia died. His brother, Nicholas I, succeeded him.

Certain military officers revolted at the time, calling for a written constitution and for modernizing Russia. (This was the so called 'Decembrist Revolt'.)

The revolt was suppressed and their leader was ordered hanged.

At the time of the execution, the leader was brought out, the rope put around his neck, but then broke, and the revolutionary leader fell to the ground, unhurt.

Now, in Old Russian tradition, such an occurrence was a sign of God that the man should be spared. (It was also sometimes a sign that the authorities didn't really want to go through with the execution and would use a weak rope to make their point.)

So anyway, Tsar Nicholas began to sign the writ of commutation and asked what the man's reaction was to surviving his hanging.

The witnesses spoke an uncomfortable truth. "'They cannot even make a proper rope in Russia,'" the man had growled.

The Tsar growled and tore the writ in half. "We shall prove him wrong," he said.

And they did.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weakest President Ever? Yes--to be kind.

"Mind if I play through?"

Our British friends ask about our Sock Puppet In Chief:

Every day for almost the last two months our television screens, radio broadcasts and the pages of our newspapers have been filled with the pictures, sounds and words of the most tumultuous events any of us can remember in the Arab world. The outcome of these events, once the dust has settled, could literally change the world. Yet Obama seems content to sit this one out. He has barely engaged in the debate. Such ostrich-like behaviour is not untypical of the 49-year-old President who burst through America’s colour barrier to become the first African-American to occupy the White House... is starting to look as if Obama and the Democratic Party have but one aim in mind for the rest of this presidential term: to get elected for a second. That means not doing anything that might upset any number of special interest or niche groups, which in effect means not doing very much at all.

Read more here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone.....

And remember this:

The problem with being born of Irish-German stock is that you can wind up with Irish organizational skills and the luck o' the Germans.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh, no. There went Tokyo. Nyuk. nyuk.

We’ve all shared the horror these last few days over the recent catastrophe, the civilizational calamity, which has struck the people of Japan. A city-leveling quake, followed by tsunami, followed by a quadripartite nuclear-plant meltdown that is only being averted at this point by the ingenuity of inspeakably brave engineers who may lose their lives saving their people from the effects of the quake.

In the teeth of this, we’ve been seeing Godzilla references popping up as people joke about the horror.

Bad taste? Uncalled for? Too Soon?


But what was Godzilla?

A cheap monster movie of a guy in a rubber suit?


Or maybe not.

I had an experience recently–prior to the quake–that kind of put the whole thing in perspective.

"I love monster movies," Frank Zappa once famously said, "I simply adore monster movies, and the cheaper they are, the better they are."

I always agreed. Some of my happiest adolescent nights were spent up after midnight watching Channel 62, watching the Ghoul -- a Detroit/Cleveland late night monster movie host, for those of you not from around here -- who camped up such wonderfully crappy movies like "The Tingler" or "War of the Gargantuas."

So at the end of a long and unpleasant work week a month or so ago, you might imagine the glee I felt when I found a used copy "Godzilla King of the Monsters" for sale at a local swap meet for $3.00 on Saturday.

With wife and kids safely abed, I grabbed a beer and some popcorn and tossed the tape into our slightly aged VCR for some late night giggles.

Opening scene was a destroyed city, a burned out landscape, and Raymond Burr on a hospital litter surrounded by dozens of other moaning wounded, as a pretentious voiceover talks about the great disaster that has just hit the city, and the thousands who died in it....

....and I thought to myself, yanno? This ain’t funny.

It felt too damn familiar to be funny at all.

Yeah, the scenes that followed--the big guy in the rubber suit crushing the dry-wobble landscape, the model trains being knocked off the tracks, the radioactive fire melting the power grid--were cheezy and fake and should have left me chortling.

But they didn't.

Looking back at the movie: this was 1956. The American occupation of Japan had ended just four or five years earlier. And this was only eleven years after every major Japanese city was melted by the fire of a monster beyond their comprehension.... including two by literal radioactive fire.

Everyone talked about how Godzilla is a "cautionary tale of the nuclear age." It isn't, not really. It's an act of post-traumatic stress, where Japan comes to grips with the fact that its cities were destroyed by a green monster that spewed fire. A literal monster--the United States Army Air Corps, flying green aircraft, vomiting death onto their cities 1000 planes at a time.

Remember when you see the scenes of flattened Tokyo, they were filmed only ten years after WE flattened Tokyo, burning 125,000 people to death in a one night firestorm that has never been forgotten there. (It should be added that this firestorm dwarfed both A-bombs...put together.)

Now, I'm not a pacifist. Nor do I regret a single megaton of what we did to bring a half century of peace to the Far East... I live because we dropped the bomb; my father was headed to the Pacific Theater of Operations when we, as they say, Dropped the Big One.

But let's not forget that from the point of view of your average Japanese on the street, separated from any connection with the war, the U.S.A. was not unlike Godzilla: a huge monster on the eastern horizon, first sinking ships in firey mystery, then stomping ashore and blasting every city we could with a force that a T-Rex could only envy.

Remember too therefore who the big green monster really was and is.

It's not a guy in a rubber suit.

It's us.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day (3/14 1:59:26.535...)

(What is the value of pie? $3.14!)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To my friends grieving the outcome in Wisconsin:

I respectfully ask you please note that the Democratic Party and unions pay lawyers big bucks to do legislative analysis and to study legislative procedure. In other words, they *knew* that the Senate could do this all along. Therefore they *knew* that this entire organized runaway legislator thing was a show. Therefore they *knew* they were gonna lose on this issue from day 1.

Therefore THEY PLAYED YOU into a false hope of blocking something they knew would pass regardless, in the hope that you'd get riled up.

Elections have consequences. In future, if you want to stop this, win your next election, as civilized people must in a republic.

I will add one thing: I'm gratified to see that, aside from a few death threats and mob scenes, NOBODY GOT HURT through any of this, on either side. Nobody died. Nobody got shot. No bombs went off. Both sides got red in the face and screamed a lot but neither side got violent. I will admit, I was worried there for a while, as mobs don't generally think clearly in terms of consequences.

I must say I have hope for the Republic yet.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spew from the Serbian Camp

Got an unhappy customer in Aisle Three reacting to my Srebrenica/Julia Gorin article below....

hahahahahha there he goes again writing writing writing no scientific facts just the same tired Jihadist story over and over again. Did you fight with the 10,000 mujahadeen in srebrenica and bosnia at the time is that why you were there? maybe you are the one who is responsible for the 200,000 Christian Serbs cleansed from Sarajevo, maybe you are the one who is responsible for the 1,000,000 serbian Christian refugees at the hands of Islam and nazi croatia?

We will start investigating you for war crimes, and we will sue you. What are you so scared of that you can't come up with one scientific fact about that time period just the same TIRED AND BORING OLD story of the poor muslims who just wanted democracy....

Everytime you write you look like a fool, do you think anybody is listening to the same deceit again and must also believe there was weapons of mass destruction in Iraq too.

Why do you think that killing Christians is ok? Why do you accept the killing total ethnic cleansing of serbs from muslim land? What is your response are you just going to respond with a false accusation again, don't you know what that means in psychology it means you are LYING and you have NOTHING. ZERO EVIDENCE.

Why don't you write about the bosnian muslim president's ISLAMIC DECLARATION. Why don't you show the world the truth what Muslims in BOSNIA were really fighting for - SHARIA LAW. Why don't you tell the world that the Serbs fought together with the moderate muslims...did you FORGET to mention all this.

What about the 500 Christians who were massacred for their kidneys and livers by the muslims in kosovo, where is you battle cry for justice, do you think that the world is going to keep buying your lies. Ruder and Finn are no longer getting paid my the muslims and the world is starting to see the truth and remember we are recording everything you say about the Christians in Serbia.

We know your agenda and who you have received money from, we are tracking everything.

Continue to write and break the commandment of BARING FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY CHRISTIAN NEIGHBOR.

Go to Kosovo and see what real genocide looks like - coward.

Sincerely, you won't post this cause you lack any kind of integrity and are you trying in vain and you are losing the fight against the Truth. You are exposed as a liar and exploiter all for a few dollars. How proud of that are you?

Don't ever say award about Julia, first of all you suck at writing and nobody listens to you, second Julia has something called scientific facts of which you still have yet to produce except for the fact that you are a totally irresponsible writer and it is so easy to see that you are a slimy attorney taking money to defend evil.

We are recording everything...



You have my deepest sympathy.

But you may wish to read this:

The following is a press release from the Prosecutors Office of Bosnia-Herzegovina by way of


The BiH Prosecutor’s Office issued an indictment against Božidar Kuvelja, charging him with the criminal offense of Genocide under Article 171, Subparagraph a) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in conjunction with Article 31 the same Code.
The Prosecutor of the Special Department for War Crimes within the BiH Prosecutor’s Office issued an indictment against Božidar Kuvelja aka "Hercegovac", born on September 29, 1971 in Čajniče, where he resides, a citizen of BiH.

The accused is charged with having, as a member of the RS MoI Training Center Jahorina, personally and directly, by firing from a M-84 machine gun in Farming Cooperative Kravica, participated in the shooting of more than a thousand captured Bosniak men and boys after the fall of Srebrenica, and with having participated in forcible collecting and transporting of the women, children and the elderly towards the territory controlled by the BiH Army.

The indictment alleges that the accused Kuvelja participated in the shooting of about 100 Bosniaks, who survived the initial execution by shooting in the Farming Cooperative Kravica, by misleading them with promise of medical assistance if they come out.

After the wounded survivors were taken out of the warehouse, the accused Kuvelja has allegedly, together with other people, carried out executions by shooting from a machinegun, and then, in order to ensure that there are no survivors left, fired individual shots to kill the victims showing signs of life.

The indictment also alleges that the accused has, as a member of the 1st Company of Jahorina Training Center, in the period from July 12 to July 14, 1995 participated in the search of Bosniak houses with the intent to collect and transfer the Bosniak population to the UN base in Potočari. He is charged with having participated in the forcible separation of men from their families, as well as transporting of the women, children and elderly from Potočari to the territory under control of the BiH Army.

The accused Božidar Kuvelja is charged with killings and forcible transfer of Bosniaks by which he helped to destroy, in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, thereby committing the criminal offense of Genocide under Article 171, Subparagraph a) of the CC BiH, in conjunction with Article 31 the same Code.

The accused is in custody.

The indictment was forwarded to the Court of BiH for confirmation.

*Note on the principle of presumption of innocence

Dear Media Representatives, when transmitting news please bear in mind that persons referred to in the news and information of the BiH Prosecutor's Office, have the status of a suspect or an accused person. Let us remind you of the principle of presumption of innocence, which defines that no person shall be considered guilty until his/her guilt has been established by a final verdict.

David Broder, R.I.P.

AP reports that David Broder, the "Dean of the Washington Press Corps," died today at 81.

I met him--once--when working as a low level staff weenie on Capital Hill back in '97.

He was as partisan as any WashPost journalist, but in person was thoroughly genteel -- which meant you had to keep up your guard.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Ninety-two years young today. You're missed, pal. You're missed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tattered Remnants #041: Marian Stoltzfus Fisher (1993-2006)


One of the great plagues of the past century has been that of the exploding malign narcissist. We all encounter one in the news every few weeks or so. Somewhere in the world, some individual suffering from some degree of mental decay, fanaticism, hate, and evil lays their hands on a weapon or weapons of mass destruction and goes berserk, killing as many people as possible in a few minutes, people whose only crime was being within his range. They come one after another, the names, the incidents – Columbine, the Austin Clock Tower, This-Or-That-High-School – in an endless thudding of horrors that eventually get forgotten, replaced by the next one in the sequence.

The victimizers elbow their way into our consciousness and their names take up space in our heads in spite of ourselves. But the victims fade into statistics, if they are ever known at all.

Rarely does an incident happen that makes us remember with pride those who lose their lives.

Marian Fisher was one such. She was only thirteen--the youngest of our Tattered Remnants.

She, her younger sister, and eight other little Amish girls were at the West Nickel Mines Amish School in Bart Township, Pennsylvania on October 2, 2006, when a man came in with a gun and took them hostage. The man, a sexually obsessed truck driver, had come to molest them; he decided to kill them.

Marian Fisher was the oldest of her classmates. She was thirteen.

She stepped up to him and is said to have spoken three words that make her immortal.

She said, "Shoot me first."

(And it is said her younger sister Barbara echoed, "Shoot me second.")

The man shot all ten girls, muttered "Pray for me," and then shot himself.

It is believed that Marian may have been buying time, attempting to throw the man off of his stride, or perhaps to consume a bullet that he could not shoot at another.

But in that simple act, those three words, she showed that She Got It.

She understood what the fight was about.

And she gave her life on the off chance that others might live in her stead.

It should be mentioned: of the ten girls that were shot, five survived, including Barbara (although one of the five was left helpless for life).

"Shoot me first."

Which of us would have such courage to choose to die at the blink of an eye?


It should be mentioned that the Amish community even took up a collection for the wife and children of the murderer.

Which of us would have such courage to forgive at the blink of an eye?

Pick a slogan....any slogan.

Politico reports that

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of Senate Democrats, needs your help. No, not a check, at least not this time. The DSCC wants help coming up with a new slogan for bumper stickers and other paraphernalia that it gives out this cycle.

How about .... "Take the blue pill"?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Note to Julia Gorin:
Genocide bad.

One of the drawbacks of the Internet is that insofar as anybody can publish anything without limitation, just about anything can and does get published.

Even rants in support of mass murder, war crimes and even genocide.

I kid you not.

There is a writer by the name of named Julia Gorin, of Russian Jewish descent, from the city of Odessa, who has recently (and not for the first time) written yet another screed justifying and defending precisely that.

In particular, she supports and celebrates the genocide that occurred at Srebrenica of which I have written previously here, here, and also here. And she does so through the usual tiresome (and mutually incompatible) arguments-in-the-alternative: "it didn't happen" and "the bastards had it coming to them."

I find it difficult to wrap my brain around the concept of someone of Jewish background....

...supporting.... genocide?

How dare she?

This from a woman who by her own account exists only because her own grandparents were evacuated from Odessa in Summer 1941 by the Russians before the Germans took her home town. And only a few hundred miles north of Odessa, only weeks later–in a place outside Kiev, a ravine called "Babi Yar"–a massacre took place that was quite similar to the one at Srebrenica.

I find this disturbing and disappointing, for much else that she has written–concerning her family history, concerning the loss of her sister in a car accident, concerning her growing doubts about legal abortion–are by themselves quite admirable.

A hack she is not.

But her mindless support of Serb aggression, genocide and criminality in the recent Yugoslav wars is deeply bewildering and appalling.

To demonstrate the nature of her genocide cheerleading I would like the reader to perform
a thought experiment, a simple act of substitution.

Go to her article. Here. Copy and paste it into a word processor.

Using your search-and-replace function, do the following:

* Replace the word "Serbia" with "Germany."
* Replace the word "Serb" with German."
* Replace the word "Srebrenica" with "Babi Yar."
* Replace the words "Islamic" and "Muslim" with "Jewish".

Now, reread her essay. It will read something like this:

.....Given the violent raids upon German held villages which the Babi Yar Jews were engaging in and which included the slaughter of around 1,500 civilians of all ages and sexes, and which continued up to two weeks before the take-down of the enclave — given that history — why should the word “Babi Yar” elicit compunction from the region’s original victims? Even if the offending side’s soldiers were killed disproportionately and in some cases illegally by one’s soldiers? What’s with the constant expectation for halos to be hovering over those ‘demon’ German heads? What grand, superhuman standards we have of these “barbarians”!
.... Executing POWs is a war crime — ... but why is it worse than targeting, torturing, and killing civilians, as the other three sides — Jews, British and Americans — did?... when you’re the only side being asked to apologize for everything — ad nauseum — and the only side whose government and humanitarian organizations have apologized for anything — what kind of reaction does one expect? ....
Why is the undisputed war crime of executing up to a thousand Jew soldiers worse than the following, which abounded in and around Babi Yar and led directly to the week in July 1941 that payback proved a bitch....
It reads like the filthiest of skinhead propaganda, does it not?

That is because it is the filthiest of skinhead propaganda.

I personally witnessed the aftermath of that completely unnecessary atrocity called the Srebrenica Genocide, and was forced to devote years of my life to repairing the damage.

Now, dear Julia, I am aware that you have never been within 500 miles of Srebrenica. I wish to God I could say the same.

Won't you join me for a little visit? It won't take but a minute.

July, 1995. In this Bosnian town of Srebrenica, the greatest war crime and genocide in the history of Europe since 1945 took place, costing the lives of 8,000 or more people.

Please join me for a moment in a small stop at one of the places of execution from this massacre. I took these pictures myself while on mission in the region in August of 2000.

This is the Agricultural Warehouse at Kravica, a small village about fifteen miles outside of Srebrenica. It is an execution site from the Srebrenica massacre. On or about July 13, 1995, some 800 to 1000 prisoners of war, whom the Bosnian Serb Army was bound by treaty and international law to protect, were crammed into this barn. Note the bulletholes, which you can see from this picture taken from our transport maybe 100' away.

This place was selected as an execution site because in this village, on or about January 6-7, 1993, a man named Nasir Oric and a troop of Bosniac irregulars from Srebrenica caught a drunken and sleeping company of Bosnian Serb irregulars in bed with their girlfriends, drinking off Orthodox Christmas. They killed 35 (that's "thirty-five") soldiers and 11 (that's "eleven") civilians caught in the crossfire, the number verified by the International Committee on Missing Persons. The Bosniac raiders then stole food supplies and took them back to besieged Srebrenica.

Thus the Bosnian Serb Army machinegunned more than 800 and perhaps as many as 1500 prisoners in vengeance for this embarrassment on or about July 13, 1995.

This is the Agricultural Warehouse as seen from behind.

This is the inside of the barn. Note the equipment. This barn--a murder site where more than 800 men died--is still in use.....



Note the plastered walls of the inside of the barn. Note the bullet holes--entry holes--still present.

This is one wall of the interior of the barn. One of the US soldiers who was with us had been a mortuary technician in a hospital prior to deployment. He told us that the black mold was of a particular sort typical to the presence of decaying human flesh. Its presence on the walls indicated that body fluids reached or splattered almost to the ceiling during the 'execution'.

You would think the Serbs would have had the good sense, if not to tear the place down, at least to clean it up a little. But it wasn't preserved as a monument to government evil and genocide. It's almost as the locals are proud of this place.

This is what Julia Gorin call "payback," and which she calls "a bitch."

Take a good look, Julia. This is what the aftermath of genocide looks like: not payback, but satanic evil.

I find myself in a difficult position, but someone has to say it to her.

Julia Gorin, I find it is my sad duty to tell you:

Woman, by your writings you have become a willing slave of genocide, a mouthpiece of support for the very evil that almost consumed your own grandparents.

You bring shame to yourself, and blacken the memory of those relatives of yours who did not escape as your family did, and who today lie in mass graves.

In the name of common justice, I implore you:

Be silent.

Be still.

Keep thy tongue behind thy teeth.

Write no more on a subject you are not qualified to discuss.

I say this with a regret most profound, for in a different reality I might have called you friend.


A fascinating discussion on this subject can be found here, of all places: "". Why? Because it would be rude to say genocide.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I dare you to keep a straight face.

Huckabee baby, on the tree top....

President-Wannabee Mike Huckabee criticized actress Natalie Portman for being an unwed mother.

In an interview with radio talk show host Michael Medved that took place on Monday but that’s getting traction today, Huckabee said that Portman’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy was “troubling.”

“It’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea” of having children without being married, Huckabee said on the program.

Well, considering the fact that she could have "gotten rid" of the kid, I am perfectly OK with her giving birth. And even tho a single mom she certainly has the resources to pay for it.

My only question is: is she having twins? And who was that man in black she was dating?

(I know, I know. "No one of consequence." "Get used to disappointment.")

Friday, March 4, 2011

St. Gregory the Great On.... the Tattered Remnant

An old friend one sent me the following, from the Briviary readings for today. It's a 1500 year old essay by Pope St. Gregory the Great.

This one is for you, old friend. You know who you are.


Moral Reflections on Job by Pope St Gregory the Great

The Interior Witness

He who is mocked by his friend as I am will call on God, and God will answer him.

Often the frail mind, when it gains a good reputation among people for the good actions it has performed, dissipates itself in outward delights, thus putting to one side what it inwardly desires and sprawling happily in the luxury of hearing good things said about it.It is not becoming blessed that makes it happy, but being called blessed by other people. As it longs for the applause, so it abandons the very thing it was beginning to be. What made it deserving of praise in God ended up separating this weak soul from God.

Sometimes, on the other hand, the soul perseveres in good works with constancy, and yet is buffeted by derision; it does great things but receives only abuse for them. In the end he who might have come out of himself, given praise, is thrown back into himself by insults. Thus he establishes himself more firmly in God, since outside there is no rest for him. All his hope is fixed in his creator and amongst external ridicule and abuse he wants only the good opinion of the interior witness. The further he is pushed out of human favour, the closer a neighbour he becomes to God. He pours himself out in prayer and, under attack from without, is refined with a more perfect purity so as to enter more deeply into all that is interior.

So it is well said that He who is mocked by his friend as I am will call on God, and God will answer him. The good may be reproached by the wicked, yet they are showing them whom to seek as witness of their actions. While the soul is strengthening itself in prayer, it is uniting itself within itself in the hearing of the Most High by the very act which severs it from the approval of those around it.
But that “mocked by his friend as I am” is important. Some people are indeed downcast at the ridicule of their fellow-men, but not as Job was: they are not the kind of men to be heard by the ears of God. When the ridicule they receive comes from their sin and not their virtue, they will get no virtuous merit from that derision.

For the righteous man’s simplicity is laughed to scorn. It is the wisdom of this world to conceal one’s feelings behind pretence and veil one’s meaning with words, to show things that are false to be true and to show what is true to be fallacious.

It is the wisdom of the righteous, on the other hand, to have no pretence, to use words to mean and not to hide meaning, to love the truth as it is and to avoid falsehood; to do good free of charge and to bear evil more gladly than to do evil; to treat a bad reputation resulting from faithfulness and truth as a reward and not a curse. But this simplicity of the righteous is laughed at, because the virtue of purity is considered to be folly by the wise of this world. Whatever is done in innocence seems to them to have been done in foolishness, and whatever act is commended by faithfulness seems nothing but weakness in the sight of worldly wisdom.

Ain't that the truth.

Happy National Wargaming Day!

Because it's.... MARCH FOURTH!

(Get it? MARCH FORTH? Get it? Huh? Huh?)

Hokay, fine. Never mind. I thought it was funny.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The News? It's Seuss.

Happy 107th, good Doctor.

And I'm overjoyed to see you now fully understand all the implications of your most brilliant creation "Horton Hears a Who."

Serious. Gas. Pains.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Supreme Court Upholds The First Amendment!


The "God Hates Fag" church won, 8-1.

I cannot argue with the reasoning.

But if they can get away with that shit, then can't we please put the cross back on the memorial in Death Valley?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Last Of The Old Breed

Frank Buckles, America's last veteran of WWI, died yesterday, 93 years after the end of the war.